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C.A.T: Paranoid

Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

I do whatever I can to get into the Halloween spirit every October and that usually includes my own soundtrack. Mostly it comprises of horror movie soundtracks but I usually throw in a few rock bands that I believe embody the spooky spirit of the season and for some reason Black Sabbath has always felt like one of those bands. First I think it has to be that name “Black Sabbath” I feel like I’ve heard several different stories regarding the name but the most common/popular story seems to be that the band named themselves after the 1963 horror film of the same name starring Boris Karloff. Second has to be that iconic dark and sludgy sound that made Sabbath the now proclaimed “Kings of Heavy Metal”. This can partly be attributed to Tony Iommi’s low brooding guitar sound of course it’s miraculous that he became a guitar player at all considering he lost the tips of his middle and ring finger in an industrial accident, that’s some Saw shit right there.

Picking which Sabbath album to do isn’t much of chore when you have a record like Paranoid, Sabbath’s second album. Just look at the names of these songs; “War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, “Electric Funeral”, “Hand of Doom” this is some dark shit but man does it sound great. This is the kind of sound that any pot smoking, aspiring garage band of the day would of killed to have but there was only one Sabbath. Iommi’s riffs were some of the best of the early 70s and more people probably would of noticed if it hadn’t been for Jimi “M’FN” Page taking the hard rock spotlight in those days (that guy’s the shit.) Bill Ward and Geezer Butler are a classic hard rock rhythm section and Ozzy had a voice that just didn’t sound quite like anyone else. Not to mention this is a band that really knows how to play off each other, resulting in some gnarly headbangers. One of my favorite elements of Sabbath’s sound is how every song is built. There is almost always that slow droning part in the beginning that overtime launches into a faster rockin’ part, but it never goes on too long. Every song on this album is exactly as long as it needs to be and every note is perfectly in place.

The songs are some of the group’s best with the iconic “Iron Man” leading the pack as the group’s most defining tune. “War Pigs” is eight minutes of pure sludge rock bliss and “Paranoid”? It’s god damn Paranoid, it’s awesome! I can’t believe the group actually wrote that song in about 25 minutes after they were told the album needed a single, wow. “Planet Caravan” is great insight into the softer side of the group but it’s the heavy rockers that make this album memorable. If you’ve never heard it I highly recommend it. You don’t have to like heavy metal (I don’t consider myself a fan) but it’s rock and roll at it’s best and everybody likes to rock, especially when it’s “Rocktober!”

Favorite Tracks: “Hand of Doom”, “Paranoid”, “War Pigs”